She caught my eye because, with her long wavy blond hair and lovely curves, she looked like a shimmering mermaid. And I love mermaids.
I never met her that night. I was doing a New York Times Magazine story on the abysmally low percentage of female directors in Hollywood. Studio chiefs, both men and women, have a hard time visualizing a woman directing action films. But there was Glatter, stomping around in black leather jacket and motorcycle boots under a bridge in a graffiti-covered neighborhood, preparing to direct thrilling action sequences and blow up buildings.
A luminous blonde in skinny jeans and gray boots sidled up to me and nodded over at Friend. Over coffee in paper cups, standing in gravel filled with crack vials from real-life in Berlin, Mullins offered help with my story.
Periodically, Glatter would have to stop filming while church bells pealed. During breaks, while Friend stood on his mark, she would wave at him or the two would rock in humorous harmony from opposite sides of the set. As Mullins and I chatted, we realized our dads were born in neighboring villages in County Clare and that we both loved the Burren.
They both left Ireland when they were teenagers and ended up emigrating to the United States and marrying American girls. My father was a policeman in Washington, D. I still get a thrill going into a home with plastered walls and moldings. The place he bought in East London, he learned how to do everything. He put in the wood floor. It turned out that we were both headed to the Cannes Lions Festival the next day to be on panels, so we made a date to have lunch on the Croisette.
Before we got together, I read up on Mullins. The year-old is an athlete, actress and model renowned for her inspiring TED talks. Her Wikipedia entry is astonishing. In high school she skied and played softball, holding the record for stolen bases.
She went to Georgetown on an academic scholarship. At lunch, she looks Cannes-chic in a black-and-white print silk jumpsuit. Her toenails, painted dark red, peep out from her sandal-clad faux feet. For hiking, walking and spin classes in New York, she uses a vertical shock prosthesis with a shock absorber and spring and a general shin-and-foot shape. You see little boys who get so excited. The doctor broke the news to her parents that she would never walk or have mobility and she would never be able to live independently.
At age one, Mullins was amputated at the knees. Many surgeries followed until she was eight and she spent a lot of time in the hospital. Growing up with wooden legs, with every step I made, the energy was dissipated into the ground. The first time I put on carbon fiber feet, it was like walking on clouds. I had this one girl make my life a living hell. And I remember, I literally had this feeling of a sword running through me. I had been fretting over some work problems but as I talked to Mullins, I felt sheepish in the face of her indomitable spirit.
She has a low-key charm, golden-mossy green eyes and an incandescent smile that makes everyone from harried waitresses to snotty French concierges melt. As she breezily talked about her challenges, ordinary problems seemed like small potatoes. They met at a little place in the East Village at 6 p. But he wrote me a few times the next day and insisted that we had to see each other again a. He proposed, quite unexpectedly, the following May when we were in the South China Sea for one night as a quick escape from where he was shooting a film in Singapore.
When I wear jewelry, I like it to have a story. But we have both always dreamt of going on horseback over the Andes from Argentina to Peru.
Mullins has an Irish passport as well as an American one. Heaven, that part of the world, overlooking the sea. And her father built a house of his own about 15 years ago down the road on family land.
Her bedroom in the house looks out on the Burren. You think about a country the size of the state of Maine, a few million people, and the output of musicians and poets and writers, lyricists and artists. Pride is really a key to the Irish. They start words inside their mouths and finish outside. She and Sean Connery were my two childhood icons of Celtic perfection.
At the end of our Cannes lunch, I thanked Mullins for shooing away my funk.